A new type of spyware targeted a number of phone systems across the globe. The spyware, named Reign, has been used to hack devices used by journalists and public figures across the globe.
Reign was created by an Israeli company and the tool appears to be similar to Pegasus, a very effective form of spyware. Pegasus was created by another Israeli company.
Researchers from the University of Toronto released a report on the software and its origins.
Security researchers showed that the virus can spread to other phones through an iCloud calendar invitation. The attack was invisible to users and was an example of a “zero-click” infection.
The mysterious new spyware has received considerable attention. The tool was used to compromise a number of devices between 2019 and 2021.
The university researchers revealed a frightening form of spyware that could record conversations, read messages and track a person’s movements. The program also created a bypass for two-factor authentication, a key form of account security.
The researchers stated that such a program likely was created with state backing. The report continued that the Reign tool was used in Europe, North America, Asia, and the Middle East.
In particular, there were a number of political figures and journalists targeted by the program. QuaDream was previously cited as a security risk by Facebook last year.
— Forbes (@Forbes) April 14, 2023
The company that created Pegasus, NSO has been blacklisted by the United States government.
Pegasus was accused of hacking into the phones of a number of French journalists. The information from the program also revealed the phone numbers of French President Emmanuel Macron and members of his government.
The Biden administration accused NSO of being involved or potentially involved in “activities that are contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States.”
The move limited most of NSO’s ability to do business in the United States.
Washington also accused NSO and another Israeli company of selling spyware to governments that used it to spy on dissidents and foreign diplomats.